Fall Harvest Art Festival

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For more than three generations, the old scarecrow watched over the Fall Harvest Art Festival in the Little River City Park every second Saturday in October. Children gathered at small tables and played games or had their faces painted.

“Hi, scary face,” the children would holler as they ran past the old scarecrow.

The old scarecrow grew sadder each year as the children became crueler with their taunts. He wasn’t a bad guy. In fact, he used to be called a grand looking fellow. Those children grew up though and had children of their own. Now so few come with their grandchildren or great-grandchildren that the town has forgotten what the old scarecrow meant to the town.

You see, it all started in 1919. Farmers in Little River planted their crops and prayed for a bumper crop as they did every year, but Mother Nature had other plans. First early rain storms threatened the fragile seedlings, but the worst was yet to come. Late June weather gave birth to millions of locust. Hungry locust. Locust with only one mission in life.

Farmers all over Little River gave their wives and daughters every scrap of cloth and ripped clothing they could find. Mr. Olson, owner of the mercantile, donated gunny sacks to the school so that the school children could paint on faces for the scarecrows. Even Preacher Jacobs was involved in helping the farmers. He prayed and blessed each scarecrow as the farmer placed it in their fields.

No one really expected it to work, but it did. Hundreds of scarecrows in the fields saved the town. To celebrate all their hard work and community spirit, the farmers arranged a large picnic in the town square. Several farmers brought their scarecrow and the grand fellow was voted as the best the town had ever seen.

The grand fellow has watched over the town square ever since. Time passed and the picnic changed, but, until now, the people had not changed. His heart breaks every time a child calls him scary face, but that must be all he is. Something to ridicule.

“Thank you,” a little girl with ribbons in her hair said to the scarecrow.

“Why you telling scary face thanks,” asked her brother who had watermelon juice dripping off his scarecrow painted face.

“For saving the town.”

“Oh, your teacher told you the story huh?”

“Yeah, it was wonderful.”

He brother laughed. “Yeah, all of us hear it in kindergarten. Wait till third grade when you get to make the scarecrow for the school play.”

The scarecrow couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“He’s not scary looking though,” the little girl said, looking at the old, worn gunny sack.

“Nah, we just say that ’cause he’s a scarecrow. He’s supposed to be scary.”

The little girl shrugged her shoulders. “I think he’s wonderful.”

As the children went on their way, the scarecrow seemed to put on a little weight as he puffed out his chest with pride. They did know who he was. They loved him. Everyone loved him. It was the grandest Fall Harvest Art Festival he could remember. He never wanted the day to end.

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My Halloween Inspiration (pt.2)

Well, it looks like I lost my readers when I took so much time off and then canceled the 3TC, but it is what it is.

Yesterday, I posted the following hints to a great show that helped inspire my love for Halloween:

  • Originally aired in 1982 on US television
  • Aired in 1983 under a slightly different title
  • Continued airing every October until the mid-90s
  • It is an anthology
  • It includes music, movies, and cartoons
  • Family friendly
  • Has never been released on DVD

And the answer is:

Disney’s Halloween Treat

The Trial

Elizabeth knew the trial was a sham.

Five month’s earlier the village had experienced the worst winter it had seen since they arrived. It snowed for day after day until people could walk on it from their rooftops. Finally as the temperatures rose above freezing, the snow slowly melted and flowed in rivulets down through widow Meeken’s farm until it reached the river that would take it back to the ocean.

All that water soaked the widow’s fields. Her crops quickly became the best around. That was the problem. All the other farms were on the North side of town. Oh, they gained some extra watering from all the winter snow too, but the village was built on a slope, you see, and in any normal winter, the farms to the North benefited from the melting snow from the high peaks beyond the village. Not this year though, and talk began to circulate as soon as May came and widow Meeken’s farm was lush and green.

“She has to be,” Sarah Howard said one morning while complaining to Mrs. Gooseberry at the general store.

“Obviously she is,” Mrs. Gooseberry told the postmaster’s wife who promptly told the butcher’s wife.

“Are we going to stand for this?” The blacksmith asked the preacher.

Elizabeth watched from her little seamstress shop on the main corner in town as men talked with men and women talked with women about the good widow Meeken and just laughed. Eventually it would all calm down and people would stop being jealous over her crops, but then came talk about a trial. She had seen many over those so-called trials, and they were all shams.

The women encouraged the men out of spite and jealousy and the men encouraged themselves out of ignorance. Elizabeth watched from her window, stitching a cloak, as a mob of men led by the preacher dragged the wailing widow Meeken through town toward the church.

That old woman’s heart can’t take that, Elizabeth thought. She liked the good widow Meeken. They always had tea on Sunday afternoon and picnics in the field during harvest. These villagers are all the same, Elizabeth thought. As she put the last stitch in the cloak, she decided enough was enough of living in the village. Anyone who could even think that the widow Meeken meant any harm to anyone was not worthy of her company any longer.

Elizabeth stood up, pulled a cloth bag from a cedar chest and began packing up her belongings. Shouts and hollers coming from the church yard cut her packing short. With one quick fling of her wrist, Elizabeth flung her cloak on, and became quite cross.

“This has gone on long enough!” Elizabeth opened the cloth bag with both hands. “In.”

In an instant, everything in her small seamstress shop was neatly packed in her cloth bag. The shop door closed behind her as she stormed through the growing mob toward the church.

“Admit what you are,” the preacher screamed at the widow Meeken, holding a white-hot iron rod toward her face.

The good widow’s face lit when she saw her friend walking toward the preacher.

“Get back to thy place, woman,” the preacher ordered.

Elizabeth laughed. Then cackled. The mob took a step back and the preacher dropped the iron. No one had ever seen a real witch before. No one quite knew what to do. So, naturally they all tucked their mighty tails and ran for the safety of their tiny homes and even tinier minds.

Once free from her binds, the good widow Meeken rubbed her wrists and started laughing.

“I am tired of these villages and villagers,” Elizabeth said as the pair began walking out of town.

“Me too,” the widow Meeken said.

“I hear there is a ship setting sail to the new world,” Elizabeth said. “Perhaps that is the change we both need?”

“Oh, that would be lovely.” The widow Meeken smiled.

“I will contact Nicholas to arrange our passage. He is going as well. Life in London is just far too crowded and he said his food just doesn’t taste right anymore.”

“Wonderful.”

Elizabeth looked at her friend and stopped walking. “You say wonderful, but you do not look happy. Pray, what is wrong?”

The good widow Meeken stopped and sighed. “I am sorry, do forgive me. It’s just that I do wonder if there really is room for a vampire, a witch, and a zombie in the new world.”

“We’ll make our own room,” Elizabeth said.

The pair laughed and continued on their new journey to the new world.


 

This short piece was inspired by FOWC with Fandango – Trial

Daily Writing Challenge #5

Stores all over the United States are filled this time of year with lawn decorations, door hangers, and little kick-knacks. There is the quintessential jack-o-lantern with either jagged teeth or a happy smile. Then there are the skeletons in all kinds of poses, or witches with multi-colored socks sticking loosely out of their pointy black shoes. All these seem perfectly normal and things that one might on occasion actually see when walking down the street. But there is something often found this time of year that is usually only heard of in stories or seen in movies and television.

Scarecrows.

I have seen small family farms and large corporate farms of corn, wheat, soy, or some other crop, but I have never in my life seen a scarecrow sitting out in the middle of their field. It’s odd considering how many there are in television shows and movies. Shouldn’t every farm have a scarecrow? I mean, after all, even the land of Oz had a scarecrow!

 

Your challenge for today is to be inspired by the scarecrow.

 


To participate in this writing challenge, simply post a link in the comments or create a pingback to this post. Go where ever the idea takes you…and have fun!